Retford 0 Hallam 3
I think it was the point where I sat down with a pint in hand at the Babworth Sports & Social Club, that I realised normal service had resumed.
My words to Steve were to that effect, the terrible twosome were back on the road again for another season, a season that will no doubt be blighted by occupational hazards such as bad weather, re-arrangements, road closures and re-locations, but on the positive side, we should get some football in, some new grounds, and probably the odd beer or two.
I guess as well when we walked into the Babworth Lane home of Retford for the first midweek game of the new season, and were greeted with a politically incorrect personal insult by a fellow blogger and local non-league enthusiast, it struck us that we were back on a ten month long adventure, of personal insults and political incorrectness!
Retford are a relatively new club, formed in 2015 and to be fair, when they first appeared on the map, for all intents and purposes, many of us assumed they were a pseudo reserve side to the aforementioned United. However, over the course of time it became clear that wasn’t the case, and once the move was announced, any possible remaining suggestions that they had a connection, were removed.
For tonight’s friendly, we chose to partake in a pint in the Club which sits on the opposite side of the flyover to the ground. Steve had plenty of tales to tell about his recent trip to Sweden and a visit to see a team called Grebo. I was not so exotic, Dodworth, Rugby and Welling do not compare, but I suspect my beer was somewhat cheaper than he was paying in Scandinavia!
|No Choo Choo|
So what does Babworth Road look like? It sits alongside the East Coast Mainline so trains are aplenty, while the main road into the centre of Retford rises behind the goal. On the opposite side of the ground to the railway is a huge educational building that I seem to think used to be called a school back in the day.
Furniture wise, it’s a mixture of a fixed barrier and a rope, while the dressing rooms located behind the top goal are nearing completion having been built from scratch. No cover or seats, or indeed floodlights but in time I suspect they will start to appear. An awful lot of hard work has gone on to get the ground in shape, and all credit to the club for what they have achieved.
|Views Towards The Flyover|
They had a burger van, belonging to the Retford centre forward, however it could only operate a limited number of appliances at a time or it tripped out. Burgers were fine, but you couldn’t have chips, you could have a cold drink, but the kettle wouldn’t work. I daren’t think what might have happened if they’d needed to put the light on!
We did chat to a Retford official, he was very friendly and informative, but not only that, with ten minutes to go he wandered around the ground to find us with complimentary cups of tea. What a very nice gesture, these things do leave a lasting impression.
As for the game, Hallam were always the better side, and having taken a first half lead, they scored a further two goals in the second period to record a comfortable victory. It was no slight on Retford though because higher league Hallam will be one of the sides looking for promotion this season.
For some reason the referee only appeared to play 40 minutes each way, maybe due to the gloomy evening and the reducing light, but time flew anyway, it always does when you are trading insults!
The Retford official invited us back for a game later in the season, and I suspect we’ll take him up on that offer. Besides, there are not many football grounds you can walk into and have your sexuality questioned in such a public manner.
But to be fair, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
|A Work In Progress|